Must-Watch Documentaries on the Palestinian cause

March 15, 2024


In the realm of cinematic expression, documentaries hold the power to illuminate the obscured narratives of our world. Palestine, a land etched with prolonged conflict and a resilient spirit, has been the focus of numerous filmmakers who seek to convey the intricacies of its struggle, culture, and the indomitable hope of its people. These documentaries provide essential perspectives on the Palestinian cause, portraying the human stories beneath the political surface, thus offering audiences around the globe a deeper understanding of the enduring quest for justice and peace in the region.


Platforms such as GuideDoc and Netflix have become instrumental in amplifying these narratives, allowing a diverse array of documentaries to reach an international audience. These platforms enable viewers to watch online, granting easy access to films that might otherwise be overlooked. The documentaries listed below are not just films; they are powerful testaments to the resilience of the Palestinian people, each offering a unique lens through which to view the complex tapestry of their reality.


The importance of these documentaries transcends mere artistic expression; they serve as vital tools for advocacy and education, bringing to light the nuances of the Palestinian experience. By engaging with these films, viewers are invited to reflect, learn, and engage with a cause that continues to resonate globally, underscored by themes of resistance, identity, and the universal longing for peace.


Top 10 Documentaries on the Palestinian Cause:


  • 5 Broken Cameras 

  • A Running Occupation

  • The Gatekeepers 

  • The Wanted 18 

  • Budrus

  • Gaza Surf Club 

  • Roshmia

  • Walled Off

  • Tantura

  • Born in Gaza


5 Broken Cameras 

dark haired man with a collection of cameras

Synopsis: This intensely personal documentary, co-directed by Palestinian Emad Burnat and Israeli Guy Davidi, chronicles the resistance of the village of Bil'in to Israeli separation barriers. Through the lens of Burnat's cameras, the film captures the non-violent protests and the personal losses of the villagers, offering a powerful narrative of struggle, resilience, and hope against the backdrop of the ongoing conflict.


A Running Occupation

marathon in Gaza

This gripping documentary captures the essence of young Palestinians using running as a symbol of resistance against the constraints imposed by the Israeli West Bank barrier. It showcases their preparation for the Palestine Marathon, an event symbolizing their struggle for freedom and right to movement, encircled by the barrier's restricting graffiti. The film follows three runners, intertwining their personal stories with their runs, illustrating how this act of endurance becomes a powerful statement against their limited liberties. This narrative offers a unique, humanized perspective on the Israel-Palestine conflict, highlighting the pursuit of basic human rights through the universal language of sport.


The Gatekeepers 

a gray-haired man in front of a video surveillance panel

 Featuring interviews with all surviving former heads of Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, this documentary provides unprecedented insights into the agency's role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The film presents a rare glimpse of the moral quandaries faced by the individuals at the forefront of Israel's security operations, shedding light on their perspectives on the successes and failures of the peace process.


The Wanted 18 

a dog hides from a police officer who looks at his sign with his head

This unique blend of animation and live-action footage tells the true story of 18 cows purchased by Palestinian activists during the First Intifada, intended to challenge Israeli authority by creating a local source of milk. Israeli authorities deemed the cows a threat to national security, leading to an absurd yet poignant struggle, symbolizing the broader Israeli-Palestinian conflict.



happy girl with orange veil

This gripping documentary follows Ayed Morrar, a Palestinian community leader who unites local Fatah and Hamas members along with Israeli supporters in a non-violent movement to save his village from destruction by the Israeli separation barrier. Highlighting the power of peaceful protest and community organizing, the film is a testament to the potential for grassroots movements to initiate change.


Gaza Surf Club 

Palestinian locals assault the sea with surfboards

Set against the backdrop of the Gaza Strip's challenging conditions, this documentary showcases young Palestinians who find freedom and escape through surfing. The film highlights the constraints faced by Gazans, particularly the youth, and how the surf community offers them a sense of identity, purpose, and joy amidst adversity.



a couple, he with a beard and red scarf, she smiling and wearing a black scarf

The film portrays Yousef and Amna, an elderly couple living in peaceful isolation in their shack since 1956, disconnected from the modern world, with Amna's roots tracing back to the Gypsies of Palestine. Their tranquil existence in Roshmia is shattered when Israeli authorities plan to seize their land for a road project, threatening to demolish their home. A friend attempts to negotiate compensation, but Yousef clings to his home, valuing it as his haven of comfort. The ensuing negotiations stir tension, highlighting the couple's struggle against the looming loss of their cherished sanctuary.


Walled Off

the facade of a low building

This compelling documentary was produced by Anwar Hadid, Roger Waters, Kweku Mandela, and Immortal Technique, and directed by Vin Arfuso. Set in Bethlehem at the Banksy-created guesthouse, the film offers an intimate exploration of Palestinian life under Israeli occupation, emphasizing the power of creative resistance. It challenges mainstream media's narratives, presenting personal stories from activists, politicians, and citizens to reveal the real struggles and resilience of Palestinians. The documentary aims to reshape perceptions, spotlighting the true impact of the occupation and the ongoing fight for freedom.



older bearded man with headphones

The film scrutinizes the events of 1948, a pivotal year when hundreds of Palestinian villages were depopulated, an event Israelis refer to as 'The War of Independence' while Palestinians call it 'Nakba,' meaning catastrophe. Focusing on the village of Tantura, the documentary delves into the reasons why the term "Nakba" is considered taboo within Israeli society. It explores the contrasting narratives and the profound implications of these historical events, shedding light on the silenced stories of loss, displacement, and the enduring struggle for memory and recognition. The film aims to uncover the layers of history, collective memory, and the ongoing impact of the past on present-day Israeli and Palestinian societies.


Born in Gaza

boy holds missile

This absorbing documentary, filmed in the aftermath of the 2014 Gaza war, provides a poignant examination of the profound impacts that conflict and violence have had on the lives of 10 Palestinian children. It delves into their personal experiences, showcasing how the war has altered their realities, perspectives, and futures. The film offers an intimate look into the resilience and vulnerability of these young individuals, whose lives have been irrevocably changed by the surrounding turmoil. Through their stories, the documentary aims to present a powerful narrative of the consequences of conflict, seen through the eyes of the most innocent and affected.



The documentaries mentioned above are more than just films; they are gateways to understanding the depth of the Palestinian cause, reflecting the pain, the hope, and the undying resilience of its people. They challenge viewers to look beyond conventional narratives, to empathize with human stories of resistance, survival, and the pursuit of dignity and justice.


Platforms like Netflix and GuideDoc not only offer these documentaries for global audiences to watch online but also ensure that the voices of Palestinians and their lived realities are heard and acknowledged. By exploring these films, viewers are invited to engage with the Palestinian struggle intimately, fostering a deeper understanding and solidarity with their fight for freedom and self-determination.


In watching these films, we are reminded of the power of documentary filmmaking as a form of resistance and memory, a way to document the stories that might otherwise be forgotten or overlooked. These documentaries encourage us to reflect on our perspectives, to question our understanding, and to commit to a more informed and compassionate view of the world.


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